Returning from the Break

The hardest part of winter break is how short it is—just long enough for a mental break from school, but just short enough that you yearn for another week off. On the positive side, winter break can be a time to enjoy friends and family or even show off your new skills that you learned during school.

During my break, in December, I traveled to the lovely state of California to watch my little brother play in his last high school lacrosse tournament. Watching my little brother enjoy his passion is an inspiration and a reminder for me to find a hobby to be passionate about it.

Also during the trip, the state of California won my heart; I possibly found my future home.In addition to my small amount of travel, I went back to work at my home clinic. To most, working over break would be less than ideal, but I really enjoy it.

Going back to the clinic gets better and better with each semester as I learn more and more here at Texas A&M. I can finally understand the doctor’s thought process when working up a case, and the veterinarians continue to push me to think more like a doctor each and every day.

Plus, I get to show off the new skills I have learned in my “Professional and Clinical Skills” classes, things like new suturing patterns or how to work the ultrasound.

I did get to enjoy the little things in life over winter break, things like dinner dates with your best friends you haven’t seen in a year or eating a messy breakfast with your goddaughter; little moments like these are ones that last a lifetime and stick with you in the future. Break is always nice time to reflect and get in the right mindset for the next semester. The second semester of every year is an exciting one, as we start to test our knowledge and are encouraged to start thinking like doctors in classes like “Organ Dysfunction.” We also get to dip our hands into the exciting world of surgery with our “Principles of Surgery” class, which is where we start to learn about the proper techniques and gear up for “Junior Surgery” come fall.

My 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting one, filled with new adventures, positive thoughts and encounters, and encouragement in learning. As we begin a new year and a new semester, I encourage students to take a moment to reflect on their break and what they did, to recognize the little joys that were experienced over break and the memories that come.



To Be Thankful

As Thanksgiving approaches, both veterinary and biomedical sciences students can see the tiny break on the horizon and with it, the chance to escape school, eat a free meal (or multiple), and to see family.

Sometimes, however, we forget that Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for what we have or where we are in life.

As a veterinary student who is gearing up for the end of the semester, I thought I would share what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for a small, deaf puppy who strolled into my life unexpectedly. Although having pets in vet school can be difficult (especially an 8-month-old puppy) Jameson has been an amazing stress relief I never knew I needed. From our early morning mediated walks to our Saturday dog park days, he is a small reminder to breathe.

I am thankful for the support system Texas A&M has brought me. As a student who did not go to A&M as an undergraduate, you could say I was initially worried about making new friends. However, the friends I have made here are ones that will last a lifetime. We support each other through school, remind each other we are human, and bring each other candy every once in a while.

I am thankful for the opportunities Texas A&M has brought into my life—from the professional skills lab where I can practice skills like ultrasound in order to become a better doctor, to the career fair where I get to network with future employers who said, “I was there once too, you got this!” and even my ambassador role through which I get to meet with students and share the same passion of veterinary medicine and remember why I started veterinary school.

The list could go on and on.

As we go home this Thanksgiving to enjoy a free meal or two and our time with family, I hope everyone will think about what you have to be thankful for. It just may surprise you everything that comes to mind.

Balancing Act

It has been so exciting getting into the groove of things this semester as a sophomore biomedical sciences (BIMS) major.

I am currently taking organic chemistry, “Great Diseases of the World,” American history, women’s health, and introduction to animal science. The biggest challenge so far has been organic chemistry, as I’m sure almost every BIMS sophomore can tell you.

Learning to study for organic chemistry is a task in itself, and then you have to do the actual studying! I have learned that scheduling to study overtime before testing makes you so much less stressed once you get to the test, and that has been a lifesaver for me so far.

This has helped me to slowly start learning to balance my time between work, school, and my social life.

My favorite part of this new year has been moving into my beautiful, one-bedroom apartment with my two little buddies, Charley and Reggie. Charley has been with me since he was just a little puppy, in August 2012, and Reggie has been with us for about a month.

I have struggled a bit with worrying whether I’ve spent enough time with them or given them enough love, but I think we are getting on just fine.

In another area of my life, working as a BIMS Ambassador has been such an awesome experience. It is so great to feel like I can help those around me and show them the little world we live in here in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

It is also great that I have the ability to work on my studies when I’m not helping others, which has been such a blessing. Having time where you are simply able to sit down and focus is so great.

Through the CVM Ambassador program, I also gained a great new friend. Sahana and I not only are in the ambassador program together but we also have a few of the same classes! It is so awesome that I have been able to find new people I love through this program.

Most fun of all is that I recently learned that a photoshoot I modeled for when I went to Australia back in May 2019 will be included in a book coming out in March 2020! It really makes me think about the amazing opportunities we can have if we just reach out.

The book is called “This Is Me,” by Georgie Abay and Julie Adams. I am so excited to see my photo in the book.

It isn’t my favorite photo of myself but it shows me that what I may perceive as OK can be so beautiful to those around me and that we are often too hard on ourselves as humans—we all should remember that we are all so gorgeous in our own ways.

Life Lessons in Veterinary School

cortney-peaseThe veterinary school curriculum is designed to teach you many things. Yes, you will learn plenty of anatomy, physiology, and pathology, but there are some things that aren’t part of the curriculum that vet school teaches you, as well.

I feel like each semester I have learned at least one very important lesson that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

In my first semester, that lesson was that failures are a part of life and everything will be OK afterwards. My second semester, I learned that hard work pays off, and my third semester, I learned that it is OK to take the time to take care of yourself.

This semester—which is my sixth, and final, semester of coursework before starting clinical rotations—has already taught me so much in such a short period of time.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about the fragility of life and the most important things in it, and there is really only one answer that I keep coming back to—people. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for the incredible people in my life, I would not be counting down the months until graduation (15, in case you were wondering).

My classmates and friends have been a huge driving force in my life these past three years. They provide support and encouragement. They share in my struggles. And, in the end, we all earn our victory together.

There have been many times that I have felt defeated and one of my friends reminds me that it might be one failing exam grade but it does not define me as a person.

There’s also my dad, who calls at least once a week to ask me how my week is going and to make sure I get a healthy dose of “dad jokes” and my mom, who always keeps me in the loop about what’s going on at home and reminds me that there is a world outside of vet school.

My two sisters are a constant source of love and always bring a smile to my face. My nieces look up to me so much—one even says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up—and that is enough motivation to keep anyone going.

Last, but certainly not least, my husband goes above and beyond to take care of me and support my dreams. He deserves a gold medal for all that he does on a daily basis.

These people have all done their part to make me successful, and I hope I do a good enough job of returning that love to them. I hope that I never take any of them for granted.

All of this to say, whether you are focused on trying to get into veterinary school, struggling through vet school, or trying to advance your career, never forget to take the time to nourish and appreciate your relationships. At the end of the day, the people in your life are what matters most, so make sure that they know that.

Awakening a Hunger for Thanksgiving & Vet School

As Thanksgiving approached, it meant more than just good food with good friends, but also that we are closing in on the end of our first semester in veterinary school It is too surreal, coming to grips with the fact that our class has completed so much together, yet we still feel like we’re in week four of the semester.

Multiple Friendsgivings had been in the making, allowing me to eat with my new friends during Thanksgiving week and express my appreciation toward the relationships I formed. I wasn’t involved in such a large group or “family” while in undergraduate or graduate school, and it surprises me how so many of us lift and support each other during difficult times we encounter in veterinary school. Every day we are in the same classes together, and although we can’t seem to get away from each other during our 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. classes, we strongly attempt to meet afterwards, encouraging each other to not let up on the vast amount of material we cover each day.

Having experienced just a drop of the veterinary life, I was immediately taught that the veterinary school program stretches and strengthens not only my intellect but also my critical-thinking process. What first appeared to be cases with a simple issue and solution when presented in class have morphed into complicated, continual problems that veterinarians are expected to solve for months, if not years.

Success with a patient may occur with a simple remedy but that isn’t the most common situation when a patient walks into the exam room. That’s where I need to go above and beyond to give patients their best care and treatment, as well as serving the needs that they require on an individual basis.

This outlook has awakened a hunger in me; it has also make me realize that being a veterinarian requires continual learning and pushing myself to be the ideal veterinarian that every owner will be expecting from me as I face peculiar or problematic cases.

My Friendsgiving

While Thanksgiving is now over, the Thanksgiving day is a great reminder to appreciate for the little things.

One thing that I really appreciate is lifelong friendship. After two and a half years at the veterinary school, I have met great friends who are going to be my colleagues one day. It is amazing to be around people who share the same interest and passion as I do.

A few days ago, we shared our third anniversary of celebrating “Friendsgiving” together. It was a good excuse for us to forget about exams and quizzes for a little bit and just enjoy having a good time with friends.

Every year, it is at Emily’s house, and I thank her for offering her place and not minding her house getting messy afterward. Because it is a potluck event, everyone is encouraged to bring a dish. I made my “famous” corn bread using my secret recipe. I also made some creamed corn. I was excited to have holiday dishes that I enjoyed last year, such as Annie’s green bean casserole.

We also had some non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes, such as dumplings and beans to show the diversity of our group. My favorite dish was the homemade egg rolls by Duc. He joked around about how he almost burnt his arm making them because he had not made them in a while.

At the end of the night, my stomach was so full from food and hurting from laughing.

The amount of support that I receive from my group of friends is immeasurable; they are also a motivation for me to keep pushing myself.

I already cannot wait for our fourth “Friendsgiving” next year.